This is a flying by the seat of my pants post! I am off to fulfil my duties and about to put on my “Councillor Muldowney hat” on for my local parish council this evening, but couldn’t ignore the fact that Liz Truss is answering questions on the TES site this evening. I have tried to add questions to the forum but it won’t let me log in and is just pants! so out of frustration I am posting my questions here in the hope that one of you lovely people can direct her/TES to the post. One major and one minor point:
1) Recruitment. How on earth can the government justify the changes (apart from the fact that we have a forthcoming election and want to be seen to be doing something) in such a rushed manner. I am not saying that we don’t need some of these changes, but seriously we are looking at an additional third extra content at KS4 and the compulsory nature of the new “core maths” means that there just aren’t enough maths teachers currently in employment or in fact in the training “pipe-line” to deliver this. I have done some “back of a fag packet” calculations here and I know I may have the assumptions wrong but if you read on you will see that the shortage is a very real thing …
None of your governments incentives are working. I am currently being used as a case study by the NCTL to encourage career changers into teaching (not that I think its the only solution, but I want to do my bit!) and trust me, whatever is being done, just isn’t enough. To prove the point, take the school I work at – last year we were “most improved” school in England, we have had very little turn over in the department, all of us are subject specialists and all have been at the school from the start of our NQT years. Sounds ideal doesn’t it? It is a lovely place to work but regardless of that lets compare the situation over time: 5 years ago I went for my interview and was one of two (and if I told you about the calibre of the other candidate it is a no-brainer why I got the job!); fast forward 5 years and we get 3 (yes! just 3) applicants for a new teacher (an additional one as a result of all these changes!) – of these 3, we interviewed 2.
2) Public perception of maths. Please have a word with ministers in general. It is becoming a “badge of honour” to be rubbish at maths, and to say such things is just totally unacceptable – to the point that one of the most popular posts recently has been my spoof job advert for “Maths God”. Just an observation but valid nonetheless. Have a look here
I say all of the above not as a “yoghurt-knitter” – I’ve been around a bit, and had jobs out there in the real world, some of which were senior positions but I genuinely believe I have the best job in the world and really want to make a difference. I want to get involved and embrace the changes (for example I’m spearheading a collaborative scheme of work for the new GCSE and have about 100 teachers/schools involved) but we really need you to consider the timings of these changes …. begin with the end in mind, and work backwards from there. Think about how we are feeling on the coal-face, or there will be a mass-exodus, and unfortunately it will be lower performing schools who feel the impact and not only will the changes fall flat on their face, but we are in danger of having a “lost generation” of students … and isn’t that what education is about? Our students? Our future?
Happy to discuss any or all of the above points … comments can be made below or email me … firstname.lastname@example.org